Review: Black Rose (In the Garden trilogy)

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Black Rose is the second part of Nora Roberts' In the Garden trilogy.

At 45, Rosalind Harper, or Roz, the difficult and hard-headed owner of Harper House has come a long way. As a young widow, she raised 3 sons alone, suffered a traumatic second marriage and successfully started the In the Garden nursery which established her as a serious businesswoman in western Tennessee.

Black Rose starts about half a year after the events of Blue Dahlia. Stella and Logan are gearing up to get married and the summer and fall season have seen the ladies busy and with no time to think about the Harper Bride. Anyway, after the last confrontation where the Bride tells them her name is Amelia she seems to have settled down.

Enter Dr. Mitchell Carnegie who has finally wrapped up all his other work and starts to work full time on the Bride mystery. Mitch starts looking through the considerable history of the Harper family, but that doesnt rock the boat as much as his growing fascination with Roz the gardener, Roz the southern belle, Roz the businesswoman, Roz the maternal caregiver ..... Her family's attempts to pair her up with Mitch, who in Hayley's words is "Hello!! Hot!" doesn't pose much of a hardship for Roz either. And Amelia, of course, knows it. Roz and Mitch feel the brunt of Amelia's rage, now tinged with madness, since Amelia knows that they are trying to solve the mystery just that the answers don't seem to be coming fast enough.

After being so overly enthusiastic about Blue Dahlia, I was quite disappointed to find Black Rose to be a much tamer read. There's entirely too much gardening, and I have to admit I skimmed. But there were a couple of things I liked. First, I haven't read many romances with an older couple and this plot element was handled quite well here. Secondly, Mitch is a great character, very believable, flawed but smart and likable. Also, Roberts trademark, the H/H's interactions with their respective children were fun to read about.

My thoughts, it was a decent story, not great and lacking the romance aspect slightly. And some of the dialogue got a bit heavy handed and repetitive.

But, Amelia the ghost has started to anticipate some sort of closure for herself. Now, let's hope Book 3 delivers ....


Series Order
1. Blue Dahlia
2. Black Rose
3. Red Lily


avdi said...

Sigh - remember the Simoqin Prophecies? God, why do ppl have to write trilogies if there is not enough meat? They should have stopped after LOTR.

Anonymous said...

Some day I hope they'll figure out how to write the third part first and then proceed backwards (the Benjamin Button phenomenon!). Gardening? must be a lot of compost and manure and all that yucky stuff.....

couchpapaya said...

avdi - lol too true!!!

roflindian - u just proved u could never b a romance writer ... think more fertility, fecundity and blossoming and u'll be on the right track. personally i agree with u tho brr...

Smita said...

Ah!!! so this one isn't that good hunting for the series :-)

magicalsummer said...

so glad to have found you here :) your writing, of course, is a must read for me, so you'l find me haunting your webpage :)

couchpapaya said...

smita - girl, i thought u didnt like gardening either ? :) am reading the third, will post the review as soon as i'm done.

mags - sorry abt deleting ur comment, am trying to keep anonymous here ... and welcome!! am so excited u started blogging too :D

Smita said...

No, I remember saying I was looking out for an opinion for Nora Roberts :)

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